Today was a tough run. The weather was gorgeous; I ran shirtless the entire way, even at 10,200', but my legs just didn't have anything and I could pretty much tell it from the first step. This is to be expected. I'm about 10 days into a fairly significant step up in terms of training volume, and the back-to-back runs this weekend were definitely still in my legs. However, as much as a run like today's can be a drag, I see it as a sign that my body is preparing for a new level of fitness. As long as the stress isn't increased, maybe even slightly backed off, the body will recover, adapt, and come back even stronger. So, today I just tried to settle in and never push too hard knowing that is the best thing for the next day.
A run like today's is most beneficial mentally, I believe. I did not want to run up a 4000' hill today. My body really didn't want to. But, this sort of effort is often what we ask of ourselves at the 70, 80, or 90 mile point of a 100 mile race (well, today's run actually wasn't nearly as painful as the 2nd half of a 100), and it helps me immeasurably to have rehearsed that sort of fatigue numerous times in training. The important thing is to monitor how I'm feeling the day after a particularly tough run because if that sort of fatigue lasts for more than a day or two, I know it's time to back off and make sure that I don't dig myself into a rut. However, the more common response from my body is that of renewed energy the day after a low-energy effort.
And ultimately, today was one of those pristine mornings in the mountains that one wishes happened every day. The wind was low, the sun was high and bright, and the trail is progressively more and more ice/snow-free every day. Luckily enough, these sorts of days happen an awful lot here in Colorado/Manitou Springs.